Dayton's growth to stay hot

Think about Lyon County, and it's likely

images of the wide spaces of rural

Nevada come to mind.

That's true, but not entirely. The county

east of Carson City also has one of the

most industrialized workforces in the state

as about 22 percent of its workers are

involved in primary employment manufacturing,

largely that brings new dollars

into the state.

But the industrial areas around Mound

House and the growing industrial center at

Fernley aren't the whole picture either.

A word that no one particularly likes

"suburbanization" increasingly is on

the lips of those thinking about the future

of the Dayton area of western Lyon


It's a supercharged housing market.

Patty Wade, president of Reno-based

Wade Development, said her company

projected at the start of this year that it

would sell about three homes a month in a

golf-course residential community it's

developing at Dayton. In October, she

said as the month wrapped up last week,

Wade Development sold 16 homes in the

community bringing the year's total to


"It's just going nuts," she said of the

planned residential community in which

prices range from $150,000 homes to

more expansive houses for $400,000 and


Planners say the availability of land

not just land, but flat land with adequate

supplies of water drive the housing

market in western Lyon County. That's

especially important, they say, as other

parts of northern Nevada find themselves

with declining amounts of space for residential

development. Some observers

have said higher prices in the Reno area

increasingly will push first-time homebuyers

into outlying areas such as


Wade Development holds about 8,500

acres in Lyon County including about

5,000 acres in the Fernley area and 2,500

acres around Dayton and Wade said

she expects the company will be highly

active in the county.

"We like Lyon County very, very

much," she told members of the Northern

Nevada Development Authority last


The county government's pro-growth

stance, she said, is accompanied by minimal

impact fees.

That will prove to be especially important,

Wade said, as her company develops

about 250 acres of industrial property it

holds in the Dayton area. She said the

industrial properties probably will sell for

about $2.50 a foot, and she expects the

properties will attract some users of large


While he doesn't disagree that Lyon

County is pro-growth, County

Administrator Steve Snyder acknowledged

that recent work on a plan to govern

growth in the Dayton area brought

competing visions of the county's future

to the fore.

Some new residents, he said, very

much want to keep the rural atmosphere

they found when they came to the

Dayton area even if they moved to the

community very recently.

Lyon County's population has grown

by more than 6 percent a year for the past

decade, and Snyder said the county government

has welcomed the growth of

population and jobs.

"We like that diversification of

growth," he said.

More of that diversification clearly is

on its way.

The plan for the Dayton area estimates

that the town's population, now

about 10,000, will rise to 35,000 or

40,000 within 20 years.

"That number gets people riled up.

People like the rural atmosphere," said

Greg Evangelatos of the Reno consulting

firm of FPE Engineering and Planning.

His company has helped develop the

Dayton-area plan.

At the same time that residents want

to maintain wide-open spaces,

Evangelatos said, ranchers in Lyon

County increasingly are unable to financially

sustain their operations and are

looking to development as an exit strategy.

The federal Bureau of Land

Management has extensive land holdings

in the area, much of ready to sell for

development. At the same time, however,

some segments of the community look to

the BLM property to provide open space.

"There's a real tension between the

rural identity and economic development,"

Evangelatos said. "You are going

to see more pressures for development."


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